Teachers needed to identify children in need of DfE support programme

Children's charity Barnardos is calling on the help of teachers, nursery workers and other education professionals to refer vulnerable children and young people to the new See, Hear, Respond service funded by the Department for Education and ran by the charity.

Through the DfE’s new See, Hear, Respond programme, Barnardo’s is leading a ‘coalition of charities’ across England to provide much-needed support to children who are falling through the cracks during the pandemic.

It will work with schools and other agencies to find children who are hidden from view, who are currently not receiving support from statutory organisations and those who are at risk of or are experiencing adverse impact to their health and wellbeing.

These young people desperately need help, but the lack of exposure to teachers and other professionals while schools are shut means they are going unnoticed and unsupported.

The service is open to any child who does not have other support networks that professionals may be concerned about. There is no threshold of need or harm that has to be reached to receive a service but the service is particularly committed to finding children who may be most at risk of harm, including:

The coalition, made up of local and national charities, will work together to expand its reach and help vulnerable children most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic with online counselling, therapy and face-to-face support.

In the biggest ever survey of the leading children’s charity’s services’ practitioners, respondents said that fewer children and young people were being referred into services, despite increasing need. Nearly half (45%) of Barnardo’s front line workers who reported a change in their safeguarding caseload in the charity’s practitioners’ survey, said they had seen a decrease in referrals to their services.

Frontline workers also reported that lockdown has resulted in vulnerable children and young people being turned away from the support they are entitled to and desperately need, with 8% saying this had happened to a child or young person they are working with.

The biggest concern reported by Barnardo’s practitioners in the survey was that children and young people are not being physically seen by teachers and other professionals, due to lockdown and school closures. Increased mental health and wellbeing issues was the next biggest concern, followed by increased risk of domestic abuse.

Children have also been in lockdown in homes where domestic abuse and sexual abuse are taking place. These pressures will likely impact more families as the crisis continues.

Parents are also stretched further than ever, many families have been hit hard financially, have additional home schooling responsibilities, may be caring for other family members who are shielding and this can all put additional strain on family relationships and physical and mental health.  

Black, Asian and minority ethnic children are more likely to be carers for ill or disabled family members and are more likely to suffer bereavement as the virus disproportionately affects people of colour.


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